R. S. Thomas

POETRY: The Country Clergy by R. S. Thomas

May 18, 2018

I see them working in old rectories By the sun’s light, by candlelight, Venerable men, their black cloth A little dusty, a little green With holy mildew. And yet their skulls, Ripening over so many prayers, Toppled into the same grave With oafs and yokels. They left no books, Memorial to their lonely thought In grey parishes; rather they wrote On men’s hearts and in the minds Of young children sublime words Too soon forgotten. God in his time Or out of time will correct [...]

POETRY: Threshold by R. S. Thomas

May 11, 2018

I emerge from the mind’s cave into the worse darkness outside, where things pass and the Lord is in none of them. I have heard the still, small voice and it was that of the bacteria demolishing my cosmos. I have lingered too long on this threshold, but where can I go? To look back is to lose the soul I was leading upwards towards the light. To look forward? Ah, what balance is needed at the edges of such an abyss. I am alone on the surface of a turning planet. What to do but, like Michelangelo’s Adam, put my hand out into unknown space, hoping for the reciprocating [...]

POETRY: Nuclear by R. S. Thomas

May 6, 2018

It’s not that he can’t speak; who created languages but God? Nor that he won’t; to say that is to imply malice. It is just that he doesn’t, or does so at times when we are not listening, in ways we have yet to recognize as [...]

POETRY: Once by R. S. Thomas

April 18, 2018

God looked at space and I appeared, Rubbing my eyes at what I saw. The earth smoked, no birds sang; There were no footprints on the beaches Of the hot sea, no creatures in it. God spoke. I hid myself in the side Of the mountain. As though born again I stepped out into the cool dew, Trying to remember the fire sermon, Astonished at the mingled chorus Of weeds and flowers. In the brown bark Of the trees I saw the many faces Of life, forms hungry for birth, Mouthing at me. I held my way To the light, inspecting my shadow Boldly; and in the late morning You, rising towards me out of the depths Of myself. I took your hand, Remembering you, and together, Confederates of the natural day, We went forth to meet the [...]

POETRY: In Church by R. S. Thomas

April 13, 2018

Often I try To analyse the quality Of its silences. Is this where God hides From my searching? I have stopped to listen, After the few people have gone, To the air recomposing itself For vigil. It has waited like this Since the stones grouped themselves about it. These are the hard ribs Of a body that our prayers have failed To animate. Shadows advance From their corners to take possession Of places the light held For an hour. The bats resume Their business. The uneasiness of the pews Ceases. There is no other sound In the darkness but the sound of a man Breathing, testing his faith On emptiness, nailing his questions One by one to an untenanted [...]

POETRY: In A Country Church by R. S. Thomas

April 6, 2018

To one kneeling down no word came, Only the wind’s song, saddening the lips Of the grave saints, rigid in glass; Or the dry whisper of unseen wings, Bats not angels, in the high roof. Was he balked by silence? He kneeled long, And saw love in a dark crown Of thorns blazing, and a winter tree Golden with fruit of a man’s [...]

POETRY: Indoors by R. S. Thomas

December 1, 2017

It was easier to come out with you Into the fields, where birds made no claim On my poor knowledge and flowers grew With no thought but to declare God. Within I had the old problems To cope with: turning from the Book’s Comfortable words, I came face to face With the proud priests and their intolerant [...]